Prioritizing Your To Do List: 9 Entrepreneurs Share Their Systems
Do you have a business To Do list that’s about 10 miles long? Do you keep adding awesome project ideas to the list? Do you take action on those projects or get stuck trying to decide which project to do first?
Which Project Should You Do First?
How do you decide which projects to do first? How do you prioritize when it feels like re-branding, talking to potential clients, making videos, starting a podcast, writing a book, developing online courses, etc., etc., are all equally important and all need to be done right now for your business to succeed?
Sometimes the answer is crystal clear and you can move forward without a backward glance. But when there’s no clear answer to “What should I do first?” it’s easy to get stuck circling around that question and lose momentum and motivation.
How Does Everyone Else Do It?
I’m always interested in seeing how other entrepreneurs make these kinds of decisions. I believe there’s a lot to learn from behind-the-scenes looks at how others manage their projects and businesses.
If you’ve found yourself paralyzed by the idea of how to choose one project to start with, take inspiration from these ladies and keep your business and projects moving forward.
What’s needed now energetically? What am I ready to give? What does the world need? And, what would best support us to thrive?
That usually gives me my answer, it’s inside me already.
Grace is an award winning international wellness expert, writer, and speaker you can find her online here.
I have the easiest decision making process ever when it comes to what projects I do next.
I have a dance party in my minivan to my theme song and if I feel good about it after I dance it out I do it.
I dance a whole lot nowadays.
You can find Kimberly helping women build their own mini van empires at The 365 Project.
It’s definitely a combination of things:
On the one hand, any project needs to feel deeply aligned with who I am and what I’m ultimately trying to achieve with my business. On the other hand, it has to be something that fires me up, otherwise I’ll never see it through.
Money definitely factors in, but a lack of cash only slows things up for me – it doesn’t put the kibosh on a project completely.
I might ask friends and fellow entrepreneurs for advice, but the most important thing is that it feels good to me and will help me build momentum in my business.
Nikki is an ink slinger + digital scribe. You can find her online here.
I have a vision map of where I want to be in three years. It’s a simple one pager.
Firstly, I look at that and see if the project/task will help me move towards my goal/s. Then, I decided if I want or need to do that task, or is it something I can outsource.
Then, finally I work out if it “feels right.” That usually gives me enough clarity to decide on how important it is.
Clare helps us remember and celebrate special days over at The Virtual Nudge.
I do a big brain dump on paper because I love picking up a paper and pen.
Next I write down on a big whiteboard 90 day calendar all of the events, launches and time frames. Then I go through the list and categorize them in list of priority and based on time frame.
Lastly, I plug in small bite sized chucks in my planner in a easy to accomplish time frame leading up to the main events. I have been known to place more on my to do list than is humanly possible to complete but I try to keep it to 3 main accomplishments each day!
This process helps me to see the big picture and also break things down in to doable action steps on a daily basis.
Chantelle is a courage coach. You can find her online here.
Once I have my overall vision or goal (quarterly or a 6-month-horizon thing), then that’s the measuring stick I use to evaluate all the project ideas. “Does it get me closer to my end-goal?”
Not: is it cool, is it on sale, is something I always wanted to do, is it what everyone’s talking about. I *absolutely* get the appeal. I’m wooed by those qualities too! But remember your mission is to drain the swamp, not chase alligators.
With a short enough time-horizon on your goals (quarterly or half-year), there’s plenty of time to rethink the wisdom and viability of them, and readjust where you’re headed. But no fair picking projects that don’t gain you yardage towards where you’ve said you already want to be.
Karen helps entrepreneurs create courses over at The Sunny Patio Project.
You have to go with what you are most excited about right now or you won’t have the momentum to finish it.
Strike while the iron is hot and push ahead. Set a crazy deadline that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone and tell your coach/support system about it to hold you accountable and get it done!
Pick the one that you are so excited about YOU just can’t stand it!!!
Fon is The Emergency Business Coach. You can find her online here.
I have a mission statement, so I just make sure whatever projects I’m planning are going to accomplish my mission, if they’re not then I ditch them.
Sometimes I catch myself veering off the mission statement and I have to refresh and realign. Usually that happens when a really charismatic person wants to work with me and it seems like a “hell yeah.” But then when I have a moment alone to evaluate, and realize it’s not a beneficial project, then I would talk to the person about possibly making some changes so it’s a win/win/win.
Diana creates and sells apps. You can find her online here.
1. I start with the things that will take the longest to complete ASAP, things like writing a book, or creating a new course or program, building relationships. The way I do this is by setting aside a couple of hours per day for these and I do them first thing in the day.
2. Then I take care of the things that either bring in the most profit right now or that could potentially be the most profitable short term.
3. I take care of the “urgent and important stuff.”
Tatiana is a business consultant and life coaching for entrepreneurs. You can find her online here.
Thanks Grace, Diana, Fon, Nikki, Tatiana, Kimberly, Clare, Chantelle, and Karen for sharing your systems!
What’s your process for deciding which projects get priority in your business? Do you trust your gut, brainstorm, talk to your coach, follow the money? Share in the comments!
Two Words to Flip Negative Thinking
“You didn’t fix the coffee pot last night.”
Those were the first words I said to myself the other morning. I didn’t start the day out being kind to myself, instead, before I was even fully awake, I’d accused myself of wrong doing.
What a way to start the week!
This could have easily escalated into me making a whole long list of very important things I did not do that I should have. (Vacuum the living room comes to mind.)
Instead a kind, gentle voice in my mind said, “Yes, but…”
Then I was able to fill in the end of that sentence with things that I did do instead:
- Visited my mom.
- Read a book.
- Watched 101 Dalmatians with my kids.
- Babysat my sister’s kids because she was a bridesmaid in a wedding.
- Watched the kids swim for 2 hours.
- Took the kids (her’s and mine) to the wedding reception so they could dance their feet off and catch the bouquet (my daughter).
- Brought the kids (her’s and mine) home and tucked their tired feet into bed.
- Ate chocolate birthday cake to celebrate my sister’s 34th birthday.
- Played solitaire with my kids. Which makes it not at all solitary.
- Listen to Eragon with my kids.
- Washed clothes, and dishes, and cleaned up toys.
That list is all things that involved family.
Family is the top priority on my list of things to do, always.
“Yes, but…” thinking switched off the negativity
I was able to get the day off to a much more positive start.
So, if you find yourself mentally writing that list of things you didn’t do, in life or in business …
Take a minute to rewire your brain.
Challenge it to take a different direction. Use “Yes, but…” or “Yes, and …” or anything that works for you to get it grooving to a more positive tune.
How do you reset your brain after a self-inflicted negative attack?
p.s. After this experience I Googled “yes, but…” (What a funny thing to Google!) and found a book called “Yes, But…: The Top 40 Killer Phrases and How You Can Fight Them.” This book lists “yes, but…” as a killer phrase and offers advice on how to fight back.
“Yes, but …” seems to work for me, despite the negative connotation, so I’m going with my theory of do what works!
Behind the Scenes at Jewels Branch: 25 Tech Tools
Behind the Music and How It’s Made
When my babies were babies I had a real addiction to Behind the Music on VH1. Give me a day of Gwen Stefani talking about heartbreak, song writing, and wanting to become a mom, and that’s where you’d find me. I loved to see all the work and effort and drama that goes into making music.
My babies themselves had an addiction to How It’s Made, a show that details the manufacturing process of things like motor boats, Fig Newmans, ice skates, and all kinds of other cool stuff. The technical details fascinated them and they would watch episode after episode and then recount all the details to their dad when he got home from work.
Turns out it’s not just my kids and I who like to know how things are made. You do, too! One of the questions I get asked most frequently is: “What tools are you using to run Jewels Branch?”
So, here’s a look behind the scenes at all the different tech pieces used to put together The PDF Workshop and the Jewels Branch Creative Community.
25 Tech Tools
Website: WordPress.org, WooThemes Canvas custom child theme designed and programmed by Jewels Branch
Hosting: Linode, VPS (virtual private server) administered by Jewels Branch
Media file storage and delivery: Amazon S3 and Cloudfront
Video player: JW Player
Screen Cast Recorder/Editor: Screenflow
Membership Plugin: WooCommerce Groups and Wishlist
Store: WooCommerce/PayPal and WP eStore/PayPal
Course Management: WooThemes Sensei
Affiliate Program: WP Affiliate
Autoresponders and newsletter: MailChimp
Conference line: Instant Teleseminar
Content Creation: Adobe (affiliate link): InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat; Apple: Keynote, Pages
Microphone: Rode Podcaster
Data Transfer (FTP): Forklift
Computers: Apple MacBook Pro
Community: Facebook groups
There are many, many more tech tools you can use to put together online courses and membership sites: from free to more expensive, and from more streamlined all-in-one services to piece-by-piece approaches. What you choose will depend on your budget, tech skill level, audience, Mac/PC preference, and much more.